Why Everyday Joes Make Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ So Special

Give me rent!* (*cool, everyday characters)
Spider Man Landlord Character

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at why the regular people of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man make the trilogy so great.

There is rarely one singular answer for why trends in cinema are the way they are. Complex truths are often the end result of a lengthy grocery list of interlocked factors on-screen and off. For me, and a number of the filmgoing public, Marvel movies feel significantly soulless. And the causal gumbo is vast: these films are too big to take big emotional risks; CGI and virtual sets are inherently less involving than the real thing, and the prevalence of snark over sentimentality leaves something of a bad taste.

I don’t think there’s one culprit for this hollow feeling in modern Marvel movies. But I do think the following video essay is absolutely on to something. Back in the early 2000s, Sam Raimi set the stage for what would become the MCU. And through the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that Raimi’s Spider-Man films have yet to be bested by their later peers.

As the video essay below identifies, one of the things that makes Raimi’s Spider-Man films so great is the way the director goes out of his way to make New York City feel like a place full of real people. Civilians in these movies feel like they live their own lives when we’re not looking. From street performers to commuters, Raimi takes the time to make the everyman feel important. Not only does this tie into Spider-Man’s purpose within the larger MCU (“he’s just a kid!”), it makes the city feel like a place full of people worth fighting for … a quality that’s been sorely missing from Marvel’s roster of late.

Watch “The Secret Ingredient That Makes Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ So Great”:

Who made this?

This video essay on why everyday people make Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films feel so special is co-written by Patrick (H) Willems and Siddhant Adlakha.  You can find their own directorial efforts and their video essays on their channel here. You can also find Willems on Twitter here. And you can find Adlakha on Twitter here.

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    Meg Shields: Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.